Sharing The Good News: Gospel Presentation Tools
I can count at least ten different gospel presentation tools that I’ve used throughout my lifetime. I could still use any one of them to share the gospel with a spiritually lost person today. What gospel presentation tool do you use?
As a child, my mom led a Good News Club in our home for neighborhood children and taught us the Wordless Book. This was my first exposure to the gospel.
The Wordless Book by Child Evangelism Fellowship uses these five colors to explain the message of the gospel.
GOLD ~ God wants us to be in heaven with Him.
BLACK ~ Our sin separates us from God.
RED ~ Christ died on the cross as the only payment for our sin.
WHITE ~ Accept God’s forgiveness and the free gift of eternal life.
GREEN ~ Grow closer to God every day.
Later, as a jr. high student, our youth ministry taught us the Romans Road and I memorized verses from the book of Romans to present the gospel message.
Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…”
Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Romans 10:10 “For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Romans 10:13 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
In high school, I went through a 17 week course on Evangelism Explosion, the training developed by D. James Kennedy. In those 17 weeks, we learned a simple gospel outline, memorized verses, crafted illustrations, and practiced sharing our faith by visiting people who had visited the church. Maybe you’re most familiar with Evangelism Explosion’s 2 Diagnostic Questions:
ONE: Do you know for sure that you are going to be with God in heaven?
TWO: If God were to ask you, “Why should I let you into My heaven?” What would you say?
While in college, I toured with Athlete’s In Action’s track team through Central and Eastern Europe, sharing the gospel with other athletes. As a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ (now CRU), we had to memorize The Four Spiritual Laws.
Law One: God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.
Law Two: Man is sinful and separated from God. As a result, we cannot know God’s wonderful plan for our lives.
Law Three: Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for our sin. Through Jesus Christ, we can have our sins forgiven and be restored to a right relationship with God.
Law Four: We must place our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior in order to receive the gift of salvation and know God’s wonderful plan for our lives.
After graduating college, I began to use Billy Graham’s gospel outline found in Steps to Peace with God:
Step ONE: God loves you and wants you to experience peace and life- abundant and eternal.
Step TWO: We choose to disobey God and go our own willful way. This results in separation from God.
Step THREE: Jesus Christ died on the cross and rose from the grave. He paid the penalty for our sin and bridged the gap between God and people.
Step FOUR: We must trust Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and receive Him by personal invitation.
Billy Graham’s gospel presentation uses the cross as a bridge between us and God. Another simple presentation of the gospel I soon discovered and used for years was the Bridge Illustration and One Verse Evangelism, developed by the Navigators. I would use Romans 6:23 to outline the gospel message, drawing the bridge diagram on napkins, placemats, pizza boxes, in the sand, in the air… For a long time, this was Sonlife’s go-to evangelism training in our SEMP and EQUIP student evangelism training conferences, and I literally trained thousands to share their faith using this method.
Sonlife had also developed a simple gospel booklet, Knowing God Personally (knowhimpersonally.org), which incorporates the bridge illustration. Over one million people have been introduced to the gospel message through this simple tool, which is still available through our webstore.
Then, in 2003, I developed my own evangelism training based on the acronym YMCA. This fun training incorporated John 3:16 as the one verse to build the gospel message around:
YOU are loved by God. “For God so loved the world…”
MAN is sinful and separated from God. “…shall not perish…”
CHRIST died on the cross as the only payment for our sin. “…that He gave His one and only Son…”
ACCEPT God’s gift of eternal life by faith. “…whoever believes in Him shall… have eternal life.”
Our children began to be taught a simple gospel presentation through LifeWay’s VBS curriculum, the ABC’s of Salvation.
ADMIT to God that you are a sinner.
BELIEVE in Jesus Christ as God’s Son.
CONFESS your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
In 2013, Sonlife partnered together with Dare 2 Share to train students to share their faith using Dare 2 Share’s G.O.S.P.E.L. presentation, Life in Six Words. The tool is simple, but strengthened by incredible videos and apps for students to use in sharing their faith.
GOD created us to be with Him.
OUR sins separate us from God.
SINS cannot be removed by good deeds.
PAYING the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again.
EVERYONE who trusts in Him alone has eternal life.
LIFE with Jesus starts now and lasts forever.
Through the years, I’ve also been introduced to many other great evangelism tools: Three Story Evangelism by Youth For Christ, Three Circles Evangelism by NAMB, EvangeCube, and the Gospel Bead Bracelet being just a few.
Here are a few things I think are critically important when it comes to sharing the gospel.
1. Keep it simple.
What each of these evangelism tools help to do is keep the message of the gospel simple. If the message is simple, it will be clear. If the message is simple, it will be understandable. If the message is simple, it will be reproducible. I believe this is why Paul wrote to the church in Colossae, “Pray that I may proclaim it (the gospel) clearly, as I should.” You want the gospel message to be simple enough that when you share it with someone, if they put their faith in Christ for salvation, they can turn around and share that same message with someone else. You’ll notice that in pretty much every one of the above gospel presentation tools, you will find these four basic elements. God’s Love, Man’s Sin, Christ’s Death, Our Response. If the presentation you use is missing any one of these elements, or adds much more than these, you might want to reevaluate for both simplicity and clarity.
2. Bring it up.
Often we don’t share the gospel with someone because we think they are not ready to hear it. If we use a Stop Light as an analogy for someone’s readiness to hear the Gospel- with Red being closed to the gospel, Yellow being interested in spiritual things, and Green being ready to put their faith in Christ – most of us think our friends or neighbors are at the Red light. A better perspective would be for us to assume our friend is at the Green light, initiate a spiritual conversation, see how they respond, and then evaluate their spiritual readiness. In other words, don’t write them off before we’ve even given them a chance. Their readiness might just surprise us.
3. Land the Plane.
One of the hardest things for us to do when we’ve shared the gospel with someone is to close the deal, to land the plane. We stammer and struggle and just leave the conversation unfinished. Either we’re afraid to be viewed as being too pushy, or we’re afraid of being rejected. When we share the gospel, it should always come with an invitation for the person to respond. Two simple questions help in this regard. 1. So, what do you think? Does this make sense? 2. Would you like to put your trust in Christ alone for forgiveness and eternal life?
4. Pray, Pray, Pray!
Pray for your lost friends. Jesus prayed, seeing that “the harvest is great, but the workers are few.” Matthew 9:37
Pray for opportunities to share the Gospel message. “And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message…” Colossians 4:3
Pray for boldness and clarity as you share the gospel. “Pray also for me, that whenever I may speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” Ephesians 6:19
For Further Consideration
1. Who are the spiritually lost friends you are currently praying for and investing in relationally? Which light do you think they are at- Red, Yellow or Green? Consider viewing them as a Green light, sharing the gospel, and evaluating their true spiritual readiness.
2. What evangelism tool are you personally using? Maybe you feel like you’ve known Christ long enough, or been in ministry long enough, that you don’t need a tool. You can just go freestyle. If so, ask yourself: Is the way I share the gospel message reproducible? Can I train others to share the same way I do?
3. Explore. See what great evangelism tools are out there. New ones are being developed every year. I’ve outlined several great tools above. Sonlife has several more in the Evangelism Toolbox in our 4 Chair Discipling seminar guide. Check out a few new tools, especially those that are using technology, whether they be in the form of videos that can be shared through social media or apps that can be downloaded to use on smart phones or tablets. One great thing about tools like these is, because they are digital, they are easily shareable and therefore reproducible.